Mirin Soy Sauce

I don’t remember where I got this recipe or what the inspiration for it was but Mirin Soy Sauce is a delicious topping that you can use on almost anything.  In fact, I often say that it “makes cardboard taste good!”  It has [...]

Tomato Ketchup

I grew up loving tomato ketchup, not to mention yellow mustard and Miracle Whip, which I always thought was mayonnaise.  At home, those were our three condiments along with Milwaukee’s Best Pickles, pickle relish and assorted [...]

National Catfish Month

In the summer of 1987 I moved back to Madison, WI from Boulder, Colorado.  And the summer was hot.  I had sublet an apartment on the 5th floor of an apartment building overlooking Lake Mendota and we had a dock at the bottom of the [...]


My very first television appearance years ago was for a spot on a local Maryland Public Television show.  I can’t quite remember the name of the show, but I remember what the topic was.  I was to demonstrate how to make lasagna. [...]

A Cook and Two Books Blog #1:  Death Comes in Through the Kitchen

I am so lucky to do what I do for a living.  It is as far away from having a “regular job” as I can get, and that has been my goal for many years–actually since Junior High School, but that is another story. Recently I had the [...]


I was on WKOW’s “Wake Up Wisconsin” show early this morning and thought I’d talk about pepper.  I love pepper.  It goes on anything but dessert for me (tho I know that black pepper ice cream is out there.  Hm….). My father-in-law is [...]

Making Sushi Rice

I am certainly no Sushi Master. But I do know that if you can properly make the rice, you are one important step closer to being able to make a sushi roll.  The last step (after putting the ingredients together) is to actually roll the [...]

Thanksgiving Tips

Re-posting my Thanksgiving blogs to help you have a more relaxed, happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy! THREE GREAT TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR THANKSGIVING DAY MEAL LESS STRESSFUL TIP NUMBER ONE: Let your Turkey rest (sit) before you carve it. The [...]

Food Moments I Missed While I Was Busy Cooking – July 2017

 Wow!  July was a busy month for me and as I reflect on what I did do, it dawned on me I should look to see what I didn’t do.  As you may have noticed, I sometimes use national food holidays as ideas for blogs, so I looked on [...]

The Art of a Picnic

I love picnics.  When I was a kid it seemed like we couldn’t travel anywhere that took longer than a couple of hours without stopping to have a picnic.  My parents had a Coleman picnic set that included a red plaid thermos and a [...]

Fromage Fort (“Strong Cheese”)

We always have cheese on hand and usually lots of it.  I believe it may be law here in Wisconsin that you have to have at least some cheese on hand (or is it butter?).  When cheese goes on sale, we buy blocks of it and keep it in our [...]

National Donut Day

I should have known this day was coming.  I try to stay current on important holidays but somehow this one slipped through the hole.  Thankfully, I was woken up just before sunrise by our squawking chickens. It was actually my wife who [...]

American Craft Beer Week

In honor of American Craft Beer Week I would like to make the following announcement: I like Beer.  I also like food.  And I really like beer with food.  And I find that sometimes food with beer is necessary, and if well thought out, [...]

Leg of Lamb

I have many food memories that revolve around the procurement, preparation and pure enjoyment of eating lamb.  From cooking a whole spit-roasted lamb at the New Zealand embassy in Washington, DC, to preparing Lamb Patties with Sour [...]

National Orange Juice Day

Seeing that today is National Orange Juice Day got me to thinking about it.  Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in Wisconsin we didn’t have access to a lot of fresh-squeezed orange juice.  Mom pretty much bought frozen orange juice [...]

Badgerchef Truffle Day

Yesterday started out so promising.  I found out it was National Truffle Day, or so I thought.  Turns out it was National Truffles Day–the chocolate kind.  Now I can enjoy a chocolate truffle now and then but I am not a [...]

National BLT Sandwich Month

One of my favorite memories from growing up was one summer evening when we had Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches with fresh tomatoes from our garden.  As I remember it was a classic summer evening, warm without being hot and not too [...]


As almost any kid who has taken one of my summer cooking camps can attest, garlic (and for that matter, onions as well) go into just about every dish except dessert. Garlic is versatile. It can be pasted, minced, chopped, crushed, [...]

Top Ten Fine Dining Etiquette Fails

I rarely go out to eat.  Let’s face it, as an experienced chef, I can prepare pretty much anything we would like to eat, and chances are it’s going to be cheaper and better that what we can get in most restaurants.  (When I cook just [...]

Happy Thanksgiving!

I still find these tips and hints to be helpful for Thanksgiving, so I wanted to re-post these two blogs in case you find them helpful, too: THREE GREAT TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR THANKSGIVING DAY MEAL LESS STRESSFUL    &    TURKEY [...]

Camp KilikiWakaWikoo

I recently cooked for a Youth Fundraiser for our church, Midvale Community Lutheran Church, and the theme was camp life at Camp KilikiWakaWikoo.  It was a fun, challenging, and rewarding event, with over 100 people attending. First of [...]

Soba Noodle Salad

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week last week, I volunteered to prepare a pasta salad for the wonderful teachers and awesome staff at Thoreau, my daughter’s elementary school.  Originally I had planned to prepare a traditional [...]

Mother Duck

It was so cute.  We were sitting on top of Monona Terrace high above beautiful Lake Monona enjoying the warm Mother’s Day afternoon sunshine with visiting friends when a hen mallard came waddling around a corner with her 12 [...]

Everyday Cooking

I love to cook.  Even after a long day of teaching cooking classes, I still like to unwind with a cold IPA or other fermented malt beverage and make myself a bite to eat.  Most often the food I enjoy eating after a long day of cooking [...]

The Pantry

The first food pantry I remember seeing was my Godparents Doc and Katherine’s pantry, in their larger-than-life home in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  It was a walk-in pantry with a window-filled wooden door that was always [...]


Like salt, pepper was once used as currency.  Instead of saying pass the salt and pepper, you could have said pass the buck.  It was certainly nothing to sneeze at.  Finding pepper was the purpose of many sailing expeditions during the [...]


I can’t imagine what it was like as a Roman soldier to get part of my wages paid in salt.  With my luck it would have been bargain brand.  I don’t pinch salt like everyone else does, daintily using my index finger and thumb [...]


Zest is the great zeal and enthusiasm I feel about cooking.  I absolutely love to cook.  I also like to think about cooking, and even sometimes reminisce about things I have cooked.  But I don’t really do that that often.  Once [...]


Without yeast, there would not be two things that I truly love.  There would not be bread to make my favorite food which is any kind of sandwich, and there wouldn’t be beer.  Okay, okay I know you can make sandwiches out of [...]


According to Oxford Dictionaries a Xenophile is a person who is attracted to foreign peoples, manners or cultures.  I would consider myself a culinary xenophile as I am totally attracted to culture, cuisines and foods from around the [...]

Wild Game and Wild Birds

Wild animals that are deemed fit for human consumption are considered game.  That leaves a pretty huge spectrum if you look at the United States as a whole.  I love to cook and eat wild game.  I enjoy it for many reasons: preparing [...]


Ask just about any Wisconsin native what deer meat is called and they will answer venison.  They will be correct.  But venison is more than just deer meat.  This term also broadly includes the meat of elk, reindeer, moose, caribou and [...]


Tart.  Besides using it to describe a promiscuous woman (something Grandma might have thought but of course, never said, especially to Grandpa because he would have turned to look) or using it to describe something acidic, sour or [...]


I wouldn’t want to cook without using stock.  It appeals to me on so many levels.  To begin with, it allows me the opportunity to not throw anything away.  I save it for stock.  Limp celery, soft carrots, leathery onion layers, [...]


I think I have figured out a mystery that has puzzled me for years.  The mystery lies in the phenomenon that when you invite people to a social event, and ask that they RSVP, they do not.  They don’t do anything.  In other words, they [...]

Quail Eggs

Quail eggs are tiny little things, easy to overcook and too small to make a significant egg sandwich.  They also don’t seem to stay fresh very long after you get them, as the white part evaporates leaving just the yolk.  In [...]


Every time I teach a pasta class I am asked if I make pasta all the time at home, since I make it look so easy in class.  My answer is I really should, but I actually do not.  The main reason that I don’t is because I [...]


One of my favorite ingredients to have when I eat sushi is Tako–otherwise known as octopus.  I love the chewy texture and sweet light flavor of the Tako, and it is fun to see the portions of suction cups on thinly-sliced octopus [...]


You don’t hear “Nuts!” much anymore, at least as an exclamation.  “Nuts!”  It feels kind of good to say it again.  It’s been a while.  I am going to try to remember to use it.  You can use it anywhere.  Kids Cooking Classes, Teen [...]


Ask me what my favorite food is and I used to say meat.  It is still up towards the top of my favorites list but I have rounded it out a bit.  I like a bit of sauce with my meat.  I know the joke about not climbing the food chain all [...]


It has been said that lutefisk is an acquired taste.  For those of you that do not know what lutefisk is I will tell you.  It is a gelatinous Norwegian/Swedish fish specialty made of white fish.  To make lutefisk you take air-dried or [...]

Kids Cooking Classes

  Someone once asked me, “What is the difference between teaching kids and teaching adults?”  My answer: “Adults are taller.” But there are some differences.  What is great about teaching kids is that they come with a fairly clean [...]

Jerk Seasoning

My first experience with jerk seasoning left me with plenty of room for improvement.  It happened when I was visiting my Aunt Signe in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  One of her best friends bought a whole beef brisket and a bottle of wet [...]


India Pale Ale (IPA) is currently and has been for several years now, my favorite style of fermented malt and hop beverage.  I love the bitterness of the hops.  We have some hop plants in one of our gardens and it is fun to use the hop [...]


I have always been proud of my Norwegian-American Heritage.  It was natural for me to take Norwegian to fulfill my language requirement as I worked on my sociology degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  But it was harder than [...]


One of my favorite events that I do as a chef is my annual GameFeed.  (That’s “game” as in wild game: venison, etc.; not as in Monopoly.)  This September social occasion started many years ago as a way to celebrate the end of summer, [...]


I never realized how much I liked the tradition of Friday Fish Fries in Wisconsin until I moved to Colorado.  I began to crave them, mostly because I couldn’t find one in Colorado (not because I was addicted to the Friday Fish [...]


It was my nephew and niece who were the inspiration for my children’s Cooking, Manners and Etiquette class.  I remember sitting and eating with them at a family gathering and thinking “Ughhhh!!”  As with a lot of parents, my [...]

Donuts vs. Doughnuts

“You say Pa-tay-toe, I say Pa-tah-toe…  You say Ta-may-toe I say Ta-mah-toe…  Pa-tay-toe, Pa-tah-toe, Ta-may-toe, Ta-mah-toe.  Let’s call the whole thing off.”  Sorry Ella, and the Gershwin brothers, and just be [...]

Children’s Cooking Classes

It has been 20 years so I figure it’s about time to tell the story of how I really got started teaching children’s cooking classes.  It was during Phase Two of my year-long culinary studies at L’Academie de Cuisine in [...]

Birthday Parties

As you get older, birthdays take on a significance that you don’t necessarily feel or understand when you are younger.  It is great to just have another birthday.  Now I am not that old, but I am glad for each and every birthday [...]

April Fools

I have never been very good at thinking of April Fools’ jokes, not usually until April 2 anyway, and there’s no way I can remember them until the next year.  Maybe I should do what I do with my ideas for classes – put them in [...]

Corned Goose

One of the best days fishing I have had during the last few years (once my Dad couldn’t really go fishing anymore), was a summer day I didn’t actually catch anything.  I know it can be said that a bad day fishing is better [...]

Pass the Salt

It is always a good idea to ask folks who are coming to your place for dinner (or any meal for that matter) if they have any food allergies, concerns and generally if there is anything they do not eat.  As a host and chef I would [...]

Bread Spread 

Butter and margarine have been feuding for years.  The feud began shortly after margarine was introduced to the United States in the 1870’s.  In 1886 the federal Margarine Act was passed placing a tax on the sale of margarine and [...]

Bean Dip

O! be some other name:          What’s in a name? that which we call a rose    By any other name would smell as sweet; — Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare   It is all in a name, how you describe something, the language you [...]


Some pieces of beef are easy to identify.  Ground round, ground chuck, ground sirloin, tenderloin, chuck roast, brisket and flank steak are just a few easily identified cuts of beef, if only because they are labeled.  We pretty much [...]

Company Food

It is so much fun to entertain.  You pick the date and the time, pick the guests, choose the menu, get out the fine china and crystal, polish the sterling silver and iron the linens.  Well, at least you pick the date, invite the guests [...]

Dribs, Dollops and Drabs

My Dad used to keep everything, from short lengths of string to 4-inch ends of 2×4’s. He kept all sizes of jars, margarine containers, ice cream buckets and also egg cartons, which he gave to an Amish family who sold eggs at the [...]

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